Situated at an elevation of 1,220 meters (4000 ft) in the Aravalli ranges is the only hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu. It has evolved over the years into the state’s favourite getaway for beating the sweltering desert heat. Covered with lush greenery, scenic lakes, hilltop temples, undisturbed trekking trails, serenity and abundant heritage, this hill station offers a relaxing atmosphere. Check out our guide to planning a trip to this hill retreat.
What to see and do
Whether you’re religious, a nature lover, adventure enthusiast or history buff, Mount Abu has something for every kind of traveller.
Located just 2.6 km from Mount Abu is a sacred pilgrimage site, the Dilwara Temples. Constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries CE, the Dilwara Temples consist of five Jain temples – Vimal Vasahi, Pithalhar, Luna Vasahi, Mahavir Swami and Parshvanath. They boast a very fine architectural style with intricate marble carvings, stunning sculptures, splendid entrances and ornamental detailing in doorways, panels and pillars. Besides being visually impressive, this temple offers beautiful views of forested hills.
Said to be dug out from the nails of god, the Nakki Lake is sacred. Surrounded by scenic mountains and trees, it is a haven for nature lovers. You can enjoy a picnic along the banks, go boating on the lake or horse riding around it. The Maharaja Jaipur Palace and Raghunath temple lie on he shores of the lake. Another key attraction is the Toad Rock set on a hilltop. As the name suggests, it resembles a toad, and you can either walk or climb the rocky path to reach it and enjoy the stunning lake views below. Entry costs INR 50 ($0.77)-INR 100 ($ 1.54).
If you’re seeking peace and quiet, the best spot in Mount Abu is Sunset Point, a stone’s throw from Nakki Lake. This place makes for a relaxing and serene evening excursion. You can set off on foot along the cobblestone path or take a pony ride to the point. With the green hills and the ethereal sky painted many hues as the sun sinks behind them, it’s worth the walk up to Sunset Point.
Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Indian leopard, jungle cat, sambhar, Indian wolf, sloth bear, black bear, and 250 species of birds — but the specialty is the grey jungle fowl. There’s plenty of flora too, with 112 plant species, 89 shrubs, 81 tree species, and three species of wild rose. It is the only place in Rajasthan with a diverse range of orchids.
Trevor’s Tank is a crocodile breeding ground. Besides crocs, you can find a plethora of birds and other fascinating wildlife, too, making this a birdwatcher and nature-lover’s spot.
Guru Shikhar Peak
Just 15 km from Mount Abu lies the highest peak of the Aravalli range, Guru Shikhar, an altitude of 1,722 meters. You can trek to the peak and enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the town. Besides the scenic vistas, the peak is home to the temple of Dattatreya, who is said to be the embodiment of the trinity Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
As the name suggests, you will find peace and quietude here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can meditate and soak in the natural beauty around. There are also a variety of plant species in its vast garden.
About 6.8 miles from Mount Abu is Achalgarh Fort, which is falling into dilapidation but worthy of a visit nonetheless, because of its religious and historical importance. The fort has two intricately carved towers, and just outside is the Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple, where you can see the impression of Lord Shiva’s foot, three stone buffaloes and a brass Nandi statue.
The fort was originally built by the Paramara dynasty rulers and later reconstructed, renovated and named as Achalgarh by Maharana Kumbha in 1452 CE. one of the several forts built during his reign. The fort is in a dilapidated condition now. The first gate of the fort is known as Hanumanpol, which served as the entrance to the lower fort. It comprises two towers built of large blocks of grey granite. After some ascent, stands Champapol, the second gate of the fort, which served as the entrance to the inner fort.
Enjoy adventure activities
Adventure enthusiasts can enjoy camping, rappelling, zip lining, mountain biking, trekking in the mountains and rock climbing. You can hike along the Craig path, up Shanti Shikhar peak, to table rock and the Adesh Avdhoot cave; trek in the jungle and spot diverse flora and fauna; or go rappelling on the igneous basalt rocks. There are 18 nature trails for a nature walk, too. Hot air ballooning, jeep safaris and horse riding are also on offer. There are several companies that run these activities, like Mount Abu Adventures.
A trip to Mount Abu is incomplete without buying some souvenirs, and the best place is at Chacha Museum, close to Nakki Lake. Local art, Rajasthani handicrafts, gifts, brass artefacts, quilts, and wooden items can all be bought here.
Museum and Art Gallery
This is a perfect spot for history buffs as it houses statues of Jain gurus, Lord Shiva and Apsaras, historic furnishing, miniature paintings and artwork. A section features the everyday life of the locals and displays items such as musical instruments, ornaments, weapons and traditional clothes.
Where to stay
Mount Abu has accommodation for every taste and wallet size. If you want to spoil yourself, there are havelis and palaces that have been turned into lavish resorts, and hotels with personalized service and modern amenities.
Where to eat
At Mount Abu you can get everything from traditional Rajasthani fare to Italian, Chinese, Indian and Tibetan. Some popular restaurants include Daawat Restaurant for North Indian thalis (platter) or Rajasthani food; Mulberry Tree Restaurant for Indian, Chinese and Continental; Cafe Shikibo for the best coffee and snacks; US Pizza for pizza; Jodhpur Bhojnalya for authentic Rajasthani fare; and Sher-E-Punjab Restaurant for Punjabi cuisine.
How to get there
Mount Abu is not situated close to any airports, but the nearest railway station is Abu Road Railway Station, approximately 17 miles (27.4 km) away. Taxis are available from there.
Several state government-run and private buses operate between Mount Abu and the major cities, like Delhi, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur.
Alternatively, you can drive to Mount Abu via National Highways 14 and 8.